New Zealand Dairy Industry Awards


Kia ora koutou - thank you Scotty for the introduction and thank you for the opportunity to speak at these awards. 

I would like to acknowledge the entrants and finalists, as well as the organisers and sponsors that made all of this happen.

I would like to specifically acknowledge the New Zealand Dairy Industry Awards Trust and Executive, including Chair of the Trust, Richard McIntyre and AEG Chair Amber Carpenter and I would like to acknowledge all my Parliamentary colleagues here this evening.

I recognise the value of these awards hold for all of you, and the encouragement they provide to the next generation of industry leaders.

This is my first speech after being appointed as Associate Minister for Agriculture, and I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else. It’s absolute honour. 

You may not know, but I was in the diary sector with my young family for several years in the Bay of Plenty before moving to the South Island in 1996 when dairy farming was just taking off. My job as a politician is a bit different now though.

As the MP for Rangitata, I understand the important role agriculture and the dairy industry continue to play in Aotearoa.

I also understand just how much the food and fibre sector has been impacted by recent weather events.

I'm always impressed at how the sector pulls together to support each other through these challenges.

As a key driver of the New Zealand economy it is important you get the support you need to be successful.

This government is committed to supporting our primary producers and rural communities throughout the response and recovery process.

So far we have made $74 million available for urgent repair work to help the primary sectors recover from Cyclone Gabrielle, and another $4 million to support rural communities.

This is a stressful time for farmers, growers, and rural communities, and it’s important you’re able to take care of yourself and your families' wellbeing.

If you need support, please get in touch with your local Rural Support Trust.

I’d like to thank you all for the work you do.

The dairy sector continues to be a foundation of New Zealand’s economy.

The innovation and the sustainability practices I’ve seen from the sector is something to be proud of.

I believe our food and fibre sector can lead the way in New Zealand’s transition to a more productive, sustainable and inclusive economy.

Sustainability is increasingly becoming a requirement to compete in overseas markets.

The sector is already on the path towards transformation, and our dairy farmers and rural businesses are world leaders in innovation.

I know change can be difficult though. The issues we are collectively seeking to address, such as climate change, freshwater and labour supply are challenging and complex - but we will get there with your help.

I am excited by some of the innovative work the dairy industry is spearheading.

The Fieldays announcement from Fonterra and Nestlé of a joint partnership to develop New Zealand’s first commercially viable net zero carbon emissions dairy farm is a great example of the leadership the dairy sector is taking to ensure a sustainable future.

The collaboration will help accelerate progress towards greenhouse gas emission goals, with both Fonterra and Nestlé aiming for net zero emissions by 2050.

I believe that through government and industry working together, we can make the necessary transition to a sustainable and inclusive future, while maintaining and growing productive and thriving rural economies and communities.

If only the people that were outside took the time to speak to any of you to see the hard work that is going on behind the scenes.

To be here with you today is really special.

I would like to congratulate the finalists. I commend your exceptional contributions to the dairy sector.  You are all examples of what New Zealand needs from our rural sector. Your hard work and resilience has been recognised by these nominations.

I would now like to welcome our next speaker, New Zealand Dairy Industry Awards Executive Chair - Amber Carpenter.